Here’s an interesting update on the ongoing global fight against HIV/AIDS. As many of you may know, the Central African Republic is in the midst of their third civil war, which started in 2013. The general lack of human resources and humanitarian needs being met are contributing factors in the difficulties in fighting HIV/AIDS, but there are also other factors in play.
In recent years, stock-outs of ARV’s have had a detrimental effect, both socially and physically. The stock-out is in part, due to the freeze of funding coming from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in response to funds falling into corrupt hands and being spent irresponsibly. Although this strategy may be more effective in terms of traceability of funds, it has created lasting damage to the patients whose condition depends on these drugs. In order to make the current prescriptions of ARV’s last longer, patients have taken to trying strategies that may in fact reduce the effectiveness of the drugs and help the virus to become more biologically resistant.
I thought it was interesting that the article also focused on the fact that the stock-out of ARV’s not only had devastating effects on the health of patients, but also on the social perception of the doctors and organizations working to improve health and standard of living in the area. The sporadic and untimely freezing of funds has generated a difficult but understandable mistrust of the system put in place. The interpretation of the situation may also generate problems because people may chalk up the patient’s resistance to the drug regime as simple “cultural reasons”. This ties in with the discussion we had last meeting regarding how much of the problems being faced in the crossroads of the medical world can be written off as a result of cultural difference and which problems should be analyzed at a deeper level.